Personnel: Chris Brown (vocals); Jermaine Dupri, Noah, Juelz Santana, Bow Wow (rap vocals).
Based on the runaway success of his first single, "Run It!" it was clear that 16-year-old Chris Brown was onto something. The song, which rides a pulsing hip-hop beat with Brown's smoothly styled R&B vocals coming in over the top, shot straight to the top of the charts, virtually guaranteeing an ecstatic reception for his full-length self-titled debut.
Brown lights upon a clever formula here by combining edgy tracks with a sultry urban-contemporary delivery, and bringing to that mixture the fresh-faced innocence of teen pop acts. (In the photo spread inside the CD's booklet, Brown is dressed in what looks like a Boy Scout uniform.) Like Usher, whom he resembles in some respects, Brown's music is likely to make 15-year-old girls swoon, yet there is a vitality here (thanks in part to high-end production by Scott Storch, the Underdogs, and others) and a musical sophistication that promises even better things to come from this young upstart.